West Roxbury, Mass.-- Owen Galvin won first place in the 8th Grade category of the Will McDonough Writing Contest, contest representatives announced last week.
Owen, an 8th grader from West Roxbury, headlined a list of 26 Catholic Memorial School students to finish in first, second, or honorary mention in their respective categories. CM’s Yuriy Bane and Aidan Healy both finished in second place for the 8th Grade and sophomore categories, respectively.
This year, 1,100 students in Grades 4-12 from across New England participated in the contest. The contest requires students to respond to one of four writing prompts for a panel of Boston Globe sports editors.
The prompts asked students to write about their favorite Boston sports moment, which athlete they think demonstrates good sportsmanship, who they think influences sports the most, and whether-or-not the Olympics need an age requirement.
In his winning piece More Than a Game, Owen wrote about how he appreciated basketball more after watching his friend Braden play. Born with Downs Syndrome, Braden served as the team manager on Owen’s Parkway Basketball team for three seasons.
In his essay, Owen explained how, for one game, the coach of his team allowed Braden to dress in uniform. According to Owen, Braden subbed in with two minutes left, scored seven points, and heard the audience erupt in applause.
“I have often heard the phrase, ‘Basketball is more than a game,’ but I never truly felt that feeling until playing with Braden,” Owen wrote in his essay.
“20 years from now, I will not remember if I won a championship in my 7th Grade season. However, I will remember for the rest of my life when one of my best friends, Braden, scored for us after helping our team throughout the years.”
Every year, the CM middle school and high school English Departments build the contest into their 7th, 8th, and 9th grade curriculum.
Faculty members go over each of the contest’s writing prompts with their students so they understand the requirements behind a narrative or persuasive paper. Afterwards, students spend time brainstorming, peer editing, and creating drafts before submitting final papers.
“We brainstorm for a couple of days until we find a topic that is of a particular interest to them,” said Ms. Ellen Eberly, a member of the middle school’s English Department.
“If they can find something to say, then they’ll find something to write. Plus what they choose for topics means a lot to them as individuals.”
For the past five years, Ms. Eberly has seen CM’s middle school students shine thanks to such hard work and preparation. Last year, eight middle school students received recognition in the contest. This year, 11 received recognition.
“[Owen’s] very meticulous and has very high standards,” added Ms. Eberly.
“I think he’d want to do as well as his older brother.”
Owen’s older brother Brendan won first place as an 8th grader in 2016 too. In his winning essay, Brendan wrote about his experience playing wiffle-ball in the backyard with Owen.
“I’m really excited to see what he accomplishes in the future,” said Brendan, now a sophomore at CM.
“I’m really proud of him.”
See below for the full list of CM winners:
Honorary Mention: Caleb McFarlane-Decordova
Honorary Mention: Owen Sanders, Brian McCarthy, Anthony Caruso, Liam Borza
Second Place: Aidan Healy
Honorary Mention: Yushen Chen, John Marcucci, Sean Fay
Honorary Mention: Aidan Floyd, Dominic Olohan, Nolan Donaruma, Jialin Chen, Lindan Verville, Henry Gailunas
Honorary Mention: Anthony Lio, Rik Orup, Mather Graham, Mike Murray, Brendan Jolley, Christopher Camozzi, Charlie Fondo
Honorary Mention: Sean Lyons, Declan Haynes